Hijabi Model Transforms Melbourne Fashion Festival

  • Hanan Ibrahim is working for major designers as she challenges the cultural stereotypes of a Muslim woman
  • ٍShe said she hoped to open up new avenues for other Muslim women.

MELBOURNE – The runway of Melbourne Fashion Festival in Australia has featured its first hijabi Muslim model, Hanan Ibrahim, who has just started her professional modeling career in late January, SBS News reported.

“I hoped to open up new avenues for other Muslim women. Australia is known for being a multicultural country and living in Melbourne you feel that. But in the fashion industry, you don’t see it. So, I hope to break down some stereotypes and break down some boundaries that some Muslims feel boxed in to,” Ibrahim expressed.

Astoundingly, the 25-year-old Somali Muslim girl is already working for major designers as she challenges the cultural stereotypes of a Muslim woman.

The Melbourne-based radiation therapist decided to pursue modeling full time.

She modeled for designer Lisa Gorman which was a marking step in her modeling career and a giant leap for diversity in the Australian fashion industry.

“The designers have been only too willing to accommodate my modesty standards. I have a bag I normally bring with me, of all the different color hijabs I have and the stylists and designers pick one to match the outfit,” Ibrahim informed.

“But the majority of the designers I’m walking for this week have actually custom-made hijabs for me. I was blown away,” the native of the Somali province Woqooyi Bari said while adding that her love of fashion was born in her mother’s boutique in West Melbourne.

Lights & Shades with Hijab

The middle child of 11 siblings said that wearing hijab hasn’t always been easy.

“Islamaphobia has been on the rise for some time, so there have been times when it’s been hard to wear a hijab and be a visible Muslim right after something was aired in the media that was quite provocative and negative,” she said sadly.

As Ibrahim prepares to mark another career high, she said she is hoping her success will inspire other young Muslim women like what they see in the mirror.

“I really hope to inspire other young Muslim women who are wearing the hijab, who love fashion, that there is a place for us,” she hopes.

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.

In the US, Halima Aden started modeling in February 2017, months after competing at Miss Minnesota competition in her traditional dress and modest swimwear, reaching the semi-finals of the beauty pageant.

According to the 2016 Australian Census, the number of Muslim in Australia constituted 604,200 people, or 2.6% of the total Australian population, an increase of over 15% of its previous population share of 2.2% reported in the previous census 5 years.

Indonesian Muslims from Sulawesi visited the coast of northern Australia since at least the 18th century to collect and process trepang, a marine invertebrate prized for its culinary and medicinal values in Chinese markets.